Forget 6 Degrees of Separation. We’re Actually 3.57 People Away From Every Other Person

It's a small world after all

Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
Vanessa Hudgens and Austin Butler
(Image credit: REX FEATURES)

It's a small world after all

Has the internet brought us closer together, or pushed us futher apart? Has it improved or hindered our connectivity? The mind boggles.

What the world wide web has certainly done is transform the way we connect and Facebook is a big part of that.The social media platform has 1.6 billion members worldwide and all of us are technically connected.

Historically, we have accepted the six degrees of separation theory (introduced in the 1920s) – the idea that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world.

However, our collective 'degrees of separation' have shrunk over the past five years and we’re becoming ever more interconnected thanks to online networking platforms.

This week Facebook used its 'friend graph' to calculate that the degrees of separation are even fewer than 6, 3.57 people to be precise.

So this chain of connectivity is true: each person in the world (at least among the 1.59 billion people active on Facebook) is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people. You are that close to Taylor Swift, Adele, David Beckham and Barack Obama. Something to think about.

Want to know what your personal degrees of separation are? You can, right here (if you have a Facebook account).

Most people on Facebook have averages between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees of separation from everyone else. Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has 3.17 and Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has a very impressive count: just 2.92 degrees of separation.

You can also read Facebook’s blog post, which explains the findings in full. The social giant's final word: ‘We find that the world is more closely connected than you might think.’

It's a small world, after all. In fact, it's even smaller than you imagined it was this morning. And it's getting smaller.

Cue Twilight Zone intro music.

The leading destination for fashion, beauty, shopping and finger-on-the-pulse views on the latest issues. Marie Claire's travel content helps you delight in discovering new destinations around the globe, offering a unique – and sometimes unchartered – travel experience. From new hotel openings to the destinations tipped to take over our travel calendars, this iconic name has it covered.